Life sentence for man who raped his stepdaughter overturned because victim recorded the abuseBy Mason White 11:34 AM January 6, 2015
|Richard Russell McDade|
By: Wayne Morin
A man who sexually assaulted his stepdaughter, was sentenced to life in prison.
However, the Supreme Court of Florida, overturned the conviction of the sex offender because the victim recorded the abuse without his consent.
Richard Russell McDade was found guilty by a Lee County jury on five charges, including two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12 years old.
However, the supreme court ordered a new trial to be held without the incriminating recordings.
The case has caused controversy as prosecutors said that a victim should not have to ask her abuser for permission to record evidence.
Rep. Jared Moskowitz, Democrat, Coral Springs, proposed a bill that would allow secretly recorded conversations to be used as evidence in such cases.
The victim who was born in Mexico, moved with his mother to Florida, about 15 years ago. The mother married McDade 4 years later.
The victim said that McDade began sexually abusing her when she was just 10 years old. He threatened that the child and her mother would be sent back to Mexico, if she reported the abuse, according to court records.
When the girl was 16 years old, she used an MP3 player, which was hidden in her shirt, to record two different conversations she had with McDade in a bedroom.
The recordings supported the stepdaughter’s account of her abuse by McDade. She claimed that he regularly asked her for sex. The teen handed the recordings over to the police and McDade was arrested.
McDade tried to suppress the recordings at trial, but a circuit judge rejected his request. The 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld the circuit judge’s decision, but noted that the case did not have any DNA evidence or other physical evidence to support the victim’s claims.
Now, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial without the recordings.